Document Directory

03 Dec 00 - CJD - Cattle feed meat ban 'could spread to pet food'
03 Dec 00 - CJD - NFU to hold EU talks on BSE
02 Dec 00 - CJD - Watchdog plans BSE checks in Ireland
01 Dec 00 - CJD - Mad Cow Scare Spreading Beyond Europe
30 Nov 00 - CJD - EU Takes Steps vs. Mad Cow Disease
30 Nov 00 - CJD - Irish hit as Egypt bans EU beef imports
30 Nov 00 - CJD - Europe's growing concern
30 Nov 00 - CJD - Schroeder seeks support over BSE
30 Nov 00 - CJD - Beef farmers face uncertain future as market falls
30 Nov 00 - CJD - Europe-wide cattle cull as panic over BSE spreads
30 Nov 00 - CJD - Brussels demands BSE feed ban
30 Nov 00 - CJD - Brussels plans slaughter to prevent an epidemic
30 Nov 00 - CJD - EU wants slaughter of 2m cattle to curb BSE
30 Nov 00 - CJD - German farmers fear public panic will finish them
29 Nov 00 - CJD - Germany reeling from BSE shock
29 Nov 00 - CJD - EU tackles BSE crisis
29 Nov 00 - CJD - EU plans to fight Mad Cow disease
29 Nov 00 - CJD - Europe Urged To Adopt UK Rules To Combat BSE
29 Nov 00 - CJD - New EU plans to stop BSE
29 Nov 00 - CJD - Euro plan to curb BSE spread
29 Nov 00 - CJD - Europe urged to adopt UK rules to combat BSE
29 Nov 00 - CJD - EU proposes moves to contain BSE



03 Dec 00 - CJD - Cattle feed meat ban 'could spread to pet food'

Ananova

PA News ... Sunday 3 December 2000


New restrictions on cattle feed are to be considered by European farm ministers tomorrow in an attempt to control the spread of Mad Cow disease through Europe.

The existing ban on meat and bonemeal (MBM) feed for cattle could be extended to all other animals including pigs , chickens and pets , and feed containing fish meal and chicken remains could also be banned.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown is prepared to accept the Europe-wide controls on beef production that go further than British scientists think is necessary.

Mr Brown will be in Brussels for tomorrow's EU crisis talks to discuss a series of European Commission proposals - including a ban on MBM for pigs, poultry and pets.

Farm ministers at the Agriculture Council will be urged to introduce across Europe stronger protective measures than those already in force in Britain. It follows a major scare in France and discovery of the first cases in Germany and Spain.

As well as the extended MBM ban, the commission is proposing a ban on all cattle over 30 months old from the food chain, unless previously tested for BSE and cleared.

A third proposal would extend the prohibited "specified risk material" (SRM) which should be removed from all cattle carcasses, to include the whole intestine and not just the brain , spleen and spinal cord .

Mr Brown said Britain, which does not yet ban the use of fish meal and chicken remains in cattle feed , would support the commission's proposals even if they go beyond what UK scientists have said is necessary.

"Our view is that we support the commission's call for measures across the EU," Mr Brown told BBC1's On The Record.

"The majority of member states are in favour of the broad thrust of the commission's proposals, although there may be some discussions around the proposals. If it is a choice between going further than scientific advice or not doing anything at all, we will be arguing for going further."


03 Dec 00 - CJD - NFU to hold EU talks on BSE

Ananova

PA News ... Sunday 3 December 2000


The president of the National Farmers' Union will visit Brussels tomorrow for EU crisis talks on Mad Cow disease.

Ben Gill will lobby representatives and hold talks with Agriculture Minister Nick Brown at the emergency meeting where ministers will vote on proposals for Europe-wide BSE controls.

Farm ministers at the Agriculture Council will be urged to adopt protective measures already in force in Britain in a bid to halt the spread of BSE on the continent.

The European Commission in Brussels is calling for a ban on feeding meat and bonemeal (MBM) to any animals, including pigs, poultry and pets . It is also proposing a ban on all cattle over 30 months old from the food chain, unless previously tested for BSE and cleared.

A third commission proposal would extend the prohibited "specified risk material" (SRM) which should be removed from all cattle carcasses, to include the whole intestine and not just the brain, spleen and spinal cord.

Mr Gill said: "It is vital that all member states demonstrate their commitment to tackling this issue jointly."

He welcomed the commission's proposals, saying: "It is hugely important that the proposal to exclude every animal over 30 months from the food chain, unless tested and clear of BSE, is brought in immediately.

"Equally all meat and bone meal must be urgently recalled by Governments from feed premises and farms for destruction."

Mr Gill added: "Confidence among the farming community is at rock bottom and urgent measures are required to alleviate distress and fear for the future."

The feeding of MBM to cows has been blamed for spreading BSE. Its use for ruminants has been banned across the EU since 1994, but it had remained in use for pigs and poultry . Tomorrow's vote follows a growing BSE scare in France and the discovery of the first outbreaks of the disease in Germany and Spain.


02 Dec 00 - CJD - Watchdog plans BSE checks in Ireland

James Meikle, health correspondent

Guardian ... Saturday 2 December 2000


Food safety watchdogs are stepping up checks on Irish beef and other processed meat from cattle to help reassure consumers that fast increasing floods of imports are at least as safe as home-grown produce.

The republic provides a tenth of all beef eaten in Britain, 20 times the amount imported from France, and the BSE epidemic has hit a far higher proportion of cows than it has across the Channel.

The board of the food standards agency has asked the government's BSE advisers to assess early next week whether present safeguards are good enough and has reinforced instructions to local authorities to ensure paperwork enabling food to be traced back to overseas suppliers is fully in order.

The agency may also send officials to Dublin to ensure that BSE controls in that country are adequate.

The turning of attention to Ireland coincides with an European Union-wide tightening of anti-BSE measures in an effort to support a rapidly collapsing market. These include a temporary ban on feeding all meat and bone meal to other livestock, and a ban on any animals over 30 months old going into food unless their carcasses have been tested and show no signs of BSE.

A meeting of agriculture ministers on Monday, to which health ministers have also been invited, is expected to endorse the package which brings the rest of the EU more into line with Britain. Commission officials are also likely to press for a speedy implementation of tougher rules on country of origin labelling .

The new focus on Ireland is unlikely to embarrass the food safety commissioner, David Byrne, an Irishman who has been urging member states to take far more seriously the dangers of BSE. He attacked Germany and Spain, which have recently reported cases, for being complacent. He has warned that enforcement of rules is essential if human health is to be protected and the beef industry is to survive.

Italy, Spain, Greece and the Netherlands have restricted some imports of French beef, but European commission scientists have so far said there are no grounds for such unilateral action.

Imports account for a quarter of the 1m tonne British beef market - a proportion that has been rising steadily as the British farming crisis deepens, and Irish beef makes up nearly 108,000 tonnes , or 40% of the 256,000 tonne total. By contrast French exports to Britain are 5,570 tonnes, but there is far greater political hostility because of the continuing French ban on British exports, lifted by the EU in August last year.

Many of France's exports here are in the form of corned beef and other processed products, whereas most of Ireland's is as carcass meat, whose origin is often easier to check. Neither country is allowed to export meat from animals over 30 months to Britain, even though, for a few weeks more, they are feeding their own populations such beef.

Only 14 countries that are BSE-free are allowed to do so, they include South American countries, much of whose supply is still as corned beef, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

The Conservatives have been pressing hard for an import ban on French beef, but farmers have been more cautious especially because they do not want the export of live sheep to the continent to be jeopardised by tit-for-tat measures. But any doubts about Irish or French produce could only add to the crisis across Europe.

The food standards agency is also worried that controls in Britain are not perfect and are worried that some cattle, legally killed by farmers for their own consumption, are being distributed far more widely and escaping anti-BSE controls .

Main beef exporters to Britain in year to end August 2000 (tonnes)

Ireland 107,865

Brazil 71,662

Netherlands 12, 966

Argentina 9,735

Uruguay 9,124

Australia 6,814

Namibia 6,187

Zimbabwe 6.086

France 5,573

Botswana 4,746

Germany 4,042


01 Dec 00 - CJD - Mad Cow Scare Spreading Beyond Europe

By Paul Casciato

Altavista ... Friday 1 December 2000


London (Reuters) - Recriminations over the safety of beef appeared to be spreading beyond the borders of the European Union ahead of an emergency EU farm ministers meeting on Monday.

Even as members of the 15-nation bloc traded barbs with each other and the outside world over the safety of their beef, the EU's top vets failed to agree on a proposed six-month ban on the meat and bone meal (MBM) used in animal feed and thought to cause the brain-wasting bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow disease.

The disease has been linked to its fatal human equivalent, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), which has killed over 80 people in Britain and two in France.

While France and Britain quarreled over beef blockades, Ireland sought to overturn an Egyptian boycott on its beef and the Czech Republic banned all beef from EU countries where Mad Cow disease has been detected.

As German scientists tested soil samples from the farm hit by Germany's first BSE case to determine whether it could be transmitted by cattle dung , the Ukraine banned German meat.

Public outcry for action is growing ahead of the EU farm ministers meeting with the first discoveries of BSE in Spain and Germany this week and the admission by three French supermarket chains that they may have sold tainted meat .

European Union veterinary experts left the decision to ban MBM, basically ground up carcasses and entrails, to the EU farm ministers, who must also consider plans to keep all cattle aged over 30 months out of the food chain unless tested for BSE.

COSTS WILL BE HIGH

Although the farm ministers are expected to vote in favor of the ban, some feed and grain groups are lobbying against it and say the costs to farmers and their industry will be very high .

The ban will also boost demand for U.S. and South American soymeal, much of which is genetically modified (GM), European feed industry officials said.

"This measure will raise the costs of feed production substantially," Alexander Doring, secretary-general of the Brussels-based European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC), told Reuters in a telephone interview.

He forecast a 10-15 percent increase in European demand for soymeal to substitute for MBM and additional costs for industry and farmers of two billion euros ($1.73 billion) a year due to the use of more expensive vegetable protein alternatives.

Traders are seeking soymeal not only from major exporters like the United States, but also from smaller suppliers such as India, the International Grains Council said on Thursday.

"We'll see a vegetable protein price shock ," Doring said.

(Mad Cow Correspondent's note: not if EU farmers take the sensible route and simply cull animals that thay will not be able to sell anyway)

The current Mad Cow scare was triggered in France , where BSE cases have more than tripled this year, leading consumers to turn their backs on beef and some analysts to predict that even fast-food giant McDonald's Corp would suffer.

A Dutch feed and grain trade group urged the Netherlands to vote against an EU-wide ban, arguing that it might be needed in some countries to curb the spread of Mad Cow disease, but not in the Netherlands.

"Our ministry, as far as I know, shares our view on the subject. But whether they are strong enough in Holland and in the European Union to block this ban, I don't know," Gert Jan van Noortwijk, chairman of the Royal Dutch Grain and Feed Trade Association, said.

France, Britain, Greece and Portugal have already imposed such a ban and Germany is due to decide on Friday whether to join them.

FRENCH ACCUSED OF HYPOCRISY

French Farm Minister Jean Galvany defended France against charges of hypocrisy for asking Britain to conduct further tests before lifting a ban on British beef, while seeking to end curbs on French beef that several other EU partners had imposed.

Glavany said Britain should start testing all cattle older than 30 months, which under British law are withdrawn from the food chain as a precaution against BSE.

Italy's Farm Minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio said a method for disposing of meat and bone meal (MBM) must be found, the EU should acquire cattle for slaughter and Italy would fight to bring forward a detailed system for labeling beef, which included the animal's country of birth.

German utility RWE Power said it was looking into the possibility of burning meat-based animal feed in coal-fired electricity plants.

"The Nutrition, Agriculture and Forestry Ministry today asked the industry for its support with the current emergency disposal of animal-based feed," RWE said in a statement.

"The ban means that every year several hundreds of thousands of tonnes of such feed will have to be disposed of," it added.

RWE said it had agreed to check the burning of the feed in coal-fired power plants as a possibility for its harmless disposal.


30 Nov 00 - CJD - EU Takes Steps vs. Mad Cow Disease

Associated Press

Guardian ... Thursday 30 November 2000


Anxious to calm public fears in Europe's Mad Cow crisis, German officials said Thursday they will introduce mandatory beef testing, check whether pastures spread the disease and possibly burn up huge stocks of animal feed in power plants.

German lawmakers late Thursday approved an immediate blanket ban on meat and bonemeal feed after the first German cows tested positive last week for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, as the disease is formally known. The measure is to take effect Saturday.

Feeding animal meal to cattle has been banned in Germany since 1994, but officials want to help regain public confidence by extending the ban to other animals raised for slaughter.

Contaminated bone and animal meal in cattle feed are believed to cause Mad Cow disease. Some scientists suspect the disease causes a similar fatal brain-destroying ailment, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, in people who eat infected beef. Two people in France and 80 in Britain have died from the human form of the disease.

In Brussels, Belgium, a European Union veterinary panel Thursday backed proposals for further testing of all cattle over 30 months of age in all of the union's 15 countries.

Illustrating the spread of the scare , non-EU countries also took new measures against the disease.

Switzerland said it will ban animal products in all livestock feed by March. The Czech Republic announced it will widen an existing ban on beef and cattle imports from some EU nations to cover Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

Germans, long told that their beef was safe, were shaken by reports about the first Mad Cow cases in the country. Media reports say beef sales have decreased up to 50 percent.

``It's pretty drastic ,'' said Marcus Girnau of the German Association of Food Retailers, which represents supermarkets. ``Everyone is selling less beef, some none at all.''

Responding to a German government request, a utility said Thursday it was considering burning meat and bonemeal in its power plants to help the government dispose of several hundred thousand tons of the animal feed.

German officials have stepped up spot checks for the disease in German herds and introduced extensive food tests. Going further, Deputy Agriculture Minister Martin Wille announced plans Thursday to check out all pasturelands for possible contamination.

Health Minister Andrea Fischer said Germany plans also to introduce mandatory spot checks of all beef from animals more than 30 months old, saying this would give consumers an additional - ``although not 100 percent'' - guarantee.

Officials last week confirmed for the first time that a cow born and raised in Germany had contracted the disease. A second German-born animal exported to Portugal also tested positive .

The latest scare over Mad Cow disease was sparked by the discovery of infected cows in France, along with a recorded case of its human form. Since then, scientists have found the first cattle with the disease in Germany and Spain.

That triggered bans of French beef imports in several EU countries, as well as in East European nations, which have banned imports from EU members with reported cases of Mad Cow disease. Spain followed France's example and banned meat and bone meal from animal feed.

The EU currently uses some 2.5 million tons of meat and bone meal per year. If a ban is enacted, it would cost an estimated $2.6 million to incinerate the animal parts.


30 Nov 00 - CJD - Irish hit as Egypt bans EU beef imports

Staff Reporter

Independent ... Thursday 30 November 2000


Egypt has suspended imports of beef from Western Europe over the BSE crisis.

The move came after the publication of the European Union's Scientific Steering Committee report into Mad Cow disease.

The Irish Republic is set to be hardest hit, as Egypt is its largest overseas beef buyer.

Croatia also banned beef, cattle and bone meal from six EU countries, fearing the possible spread of the disease.

It will no longer take imports from France , Germany , the Netherlands , Portugal , Spain and Switzerland .

The decree also prohibits transport of cattle and beef products through Croatia, but does not apply to milk and milk products from these countries, the Agriculture Ministry said. No symptoms of Mad Cow disease have been detected in Croatia.

Irish government officials were today assessing the impact of Egypt's decision, but immediately said Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh would go to Egypt himself early next month to outline Europe-wide precautions being taken against BSE.

He also reported that a technical delegation from his department would travel to Cairo this week to press for a reversal of the move, set to cost Ireland IR£200 million a year.

The Minister said: "The difficulty here is that if the ban was to translate into a permanent ban, typically it would take 12 months for it to be lifted.

"What I will be seeking to do is seek to ensure that this temporary suspension will not go as far as actually banning Irish beef.

"There is a problem in Europe and we are caught up in that problem - nothing has changed in Ireland or in relation to Irish beef."

Mr Walsh said he had spoken to Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who had agreed to speak personally to Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak to stress that the BSE problem was a European one rather than specifically Irish, and that precautions taken in Ireland were the most stringent.

The Egyptians acted in the face of a report from the European Union's Scientific Steering Committee.

According to the latest figures in Dublin, up to the end of last week, there had been 20 cases in Ireland so far this month - the highest ever number for the disease in a single month.

Mr Walsh said: "What's creeping up is the age of the cattle affected, and we do not consume older beef. There is a very long incubation period.

"Every possible precaution is taken, and I would go so far as to say that there are no circumstances in which affected BSE beef can get into the food chain."

Tom Parlon, president of Ireland's main farm-representative organisation, the Irish Farmers' Association, said of the Egyptian decision: "This is a major blow to Ireland.

"Egypt is our biggest single market for beef , worth about IR£200 million a year, or 350,000 cattle.

"It is going to cause major difficulties for our farmers in terms of getting rid of stock."


30 Nov 00 - CJD - Europe's growing concern

Staff Reporter

BBC ... Thursday 30 November 2000


Countries all over Europe are urgently stepping up testing as the spectre of BSE spreads.

Ireland

Ireland has had 551 cases of the disease since 1989, but 104 of these have been recorded so far this year . Numbers of affected cattle have been steadily rising since 1996.

Despite the rising numbers, Ireland has strict controls of its beef industry. meat and bone meal are banned from cattle feed, and factories are subjected to clinical tests.

From January, all cattle over 30 months old will be subjected to a mandatory test for the disease using a technique pioneered in Ireland.

As a result of the stringent measures, Ireland recently announced plans to market its beef as 'BSE-free'.

The EU, however, has rejected this. "I don't think any member state can give a guarantee that their beef is BSE-free," said Ireland's European Commissioner David Byrne.

UK

The first cases of BSE-infected cattle were recorded in the UK in 1986.

Feed containing sheep carcasses was banned in 1988, but BSE cases rocketed reaching a peak of over 36,000 in 1992.

However public concern over the disease came to a climax in 1996 when the government admitted it had covered up research which proved a link between BSE and CJD.

The EU reacted quickly, imposing a strict export ban on British beef and related products. Cattle over the age of 30 months have been banned for human consumption in the UK since 1996.

The beef industry in the UK suffered huge losses from which it has still not recovered as a result.

Cases of BSE still dwarf that of any other country. But the cases are declining every year; while in several European countries the disease is on the increase .

Holland

The first Dutch case occurred in 1997, but the Netherlands has seen relatively low levels of BSE infection in its herds.

Last week, the Dutch Agriculture Ministry reported the country's seventh case had been discovered at a farm near Utrecht.

This was the first BSE case this year in the Netherlands and compares with two cases in each of the past three years.

To head off any potential problems, however, the ministry intends to step up testing next year, conducting about 12,000 tests compared to several hundred this year.

The tests are expected to focus on sick or dead animals.

Denmark

Denmark banned animal-based cattle feeds in the early 1990s, and banned the sale of beef in February 2000 when the first case of BSE was found in Danish-bred cattle.

It was only the second case of BSE in Denmark in 10 years. The previous known case, in 1992, was in an imported Scottish highland cow.

The case alarmed Danish authorities and raised questions about how the animal was infected. Norway and Lithuania immediately banned imports of Danish beef as a result.

France

France is at the centre of the BSE fears spreading across Europe .

Cases of the disease have doubled in the last year and the country is also reeling from the scare that some potentially BSE-infected French beef went on sale in the supermarket giant Carrefour.

The meat was withdrawn, and Carrefour has announced plans to sue the beef supplier. But several European countries have imposed partial bans on French beef as a result.

In 1999 France defied a European Union ruling and imposed a ban on British beef imports. It still faces legal action from the European Court for continuing with the embargo.

Meanwhile the French Government has announced a $426m (FF3.24bn) package of measures designed to help the meat and farming industries recover from the crisis.

The package also includes cash to help research to find alternatives to animal feeds spreading the disease.

Portugal

Since 1997 there have been 391 known cases of BSE in Portugal. Levels have increased each year , although figures for this year do not yet show an upturn.

The Portuguese Agriculture Ministry estimates BSE in Portugal currently stands at 200 per million , down from 240 recorded in the 12 months up to September 1999.

No cases have been reported for cows born since 1995, when the use of meat and bone meal in animal feed was banned.

Officials believe the disease has peaked and may be eradicated completely from the country by 2003.

Portugal has not yet recorded a case of new variant CJD, but is still banned from exporting its beef to the European Union because of the relatively high levels of BSE in its herds.

Spain

The first two cases of BSE in Spain were uncovered in November 2000.

Health authorities in the north-western Spanish region of Galicia detected the disease during testing of 132 cattle.

The discovery followed Spain's banning of French cattle and beef exports.

However, Spain's Agriculture Minister, Miguel Arias Canete, says the country is not facing an epidemic.

According to Mr Canete, testing methods have ensured that infected animals have not entered the food chain.

Belgium

Belgium recorded its first cases of BSE in 1993. This year, four cows have been slaughtered after being tested positive.

An EU Commission report also warned that cattle in Belgium have been exposed to possibly contaminated animal feed imported since the 1980s.

Scientists believe that although there may be more cases, the probability of an epidemic is decreasing over time.

One of the main reasons for this is the introduction of a computerised monitoring system in 1997.

However, the EU has warned the Belgian government to stay vigilant and increase testing.

Switzerland

Switzerland has recorded 364 cases of BSE to date, and along with Ireland and Portugal has seen one of the most rapid increases in the disease.

It is also the only country in the world to test for 'hidden' BSE in the carcasses of cattle that did not show any signs of the disease prior to death.

These results have doubled Switzerland's previous total, and prompted fresh concerns that substantial numbers of cases are escaping detection elsewhere in Europe.

Germany

For years, Germany considered itself an oasis of BSE-free beef in Europe. The government repeatedly assured the public that German beef was safe.

But the discovery of the country's first two cases shattered this illusion , triggering widespread public concern and anger .

"They made fools of us with the long-winded promises that Germany is safe from BSE," said the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper.

"We should have dealt with BSE earlier and more rigorously," admitted Environmental Minister for North Rhine and Westphalia Barbel Hohn.

"Mistakes were made in the past, for which we must now pay the bitter price," she added.

A full ban of meat-based cattle fodder has now been imposed. Germany has also dropped its opposition to an EU-proposed ban on the human consumption of animal brains and spinal cords.

The meat industry in Germany has been sent reeling by the crisis, and there are fears over the future of thousands of jobs.

Italy

Italy has banned imports of adult cows and beef on the bone from France , following revelations that several tonnes of meat from a BSE-infected herd had gone on sale in French supermarkets.

Italy is France's biggest beef customer, but consumption has slumped by three-quarters in recent months.

Italian butchers have to display the country of origin of fresh meat they offer for sale, and many restaurants are following suit.

But Italians eat more veal than any other kind of meat and usually prefer veal to beef on the bone, so no great change is forecast in Italian eating habits.

Nevertheless, the government is treating the possibility that the disease may have spread into Italy without being detected very seriously.

New regulations to improve veterinary monitoring in the slaughter houses and a ban on bonemeal being fed to cows and sheep have recently been introduced.

Italy could also start testing for BSE in cattle aged over 24 months, in January.


30 Nov 00 - CJD - Schroeder seeks support over BSE

Staff Reporter

BBC ... Thursday 30 November 2000


German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is calling for all party support for a ban on meat-based animal feed in the latest step to fight Mad Cow disease (BSE).

If passed by the German parliament it would come into force by Saturday.

The German Government says it wants the country to stop factory farming in favour of more consumer-friendly practices so that there is a real chance of stopping the spread of Mad Cow disease.

The European Commission has already called for a European Union-wide ban on meat and bone meal in fodder for all animals, and the exclusion of cattle over the age of thirty months from the human food chain.

Chancellor Schroeder's new law, which would bring Germany into line with those proposals, is expected to be passed - his left-wing government has a majority in the Bundestag.

The German move is in response to the discovery of Mad Cow disease in German herds last week despite previous assertions that its cattle would always remain BSE free.

The disease is believed to have been transmitted to German cows, and possibly other livestock, via feed that uses meat as an ingredient.

Assurances sought

According to analysts the European Commission's proposals have a strong chance of being accepted by member states.

Until now it has been legal to feed meat and bone meal to pigs and poultry, but there has been a suspicion that it was also being fed to cattle in some places, thereby risking the spread of BSE.

Five new cases of BSE have been confirmed in France bringing the total number of cases discovered this year to 121 , compared to just 30 in 1999.


30 Nov 00 - CJD - Beef farmers face uncertain future as market falls

James Meikle

Guardian ... Thursday 30 November 2000


Farmers are watching the supermarket shelves once more, trying to gauge how the consumer will jump as the BSE crisis worsens across Europe.

There was concern that shoppers were already turning away from beef to lamb before the latest edict from Brussels heralded more sweeping emergency measures to combat the threat to the EU's cattle industry.

Prices paid to farmers are falling , by up to 5% in the past week, and around 15% on this time last year. It may be a seasonal blip. Some in the industry doubt it.

There is a glut on the European market as consumer interest dives in France, Germany and Spain, and while taking millions of cattle off the market might stabilise prices in the medium term, it is anyone's guess what happens in the next few weeks.

The National Farmers' Union and government authorities will naturally be welcoming tight controls across Europe - nearly five years after they were imposed in Britain. But they also remember how beef production dived in 1996, when the link between BSE and new variant CJD in humans was established.

The market dropped by a fifth in the year, and though consumption is back to pre-1996 levels, prices have never really recovered . Britons consume 917,000 tonnes of beef a year, a sixth of it imported. Exports are a trickle, 500 tonnes worth £5m in the year since the EU embargo was lifted.

Market research for the meat and livestock commission has suggested that consumers want a ban on French imports (about 5,000 tonnes a year), even if the authorities are waiting for scientific evidence to justify a decision. There is also a perception that "our beef is all right", and renewed encouragement to look at the label for country of production.

But providing country of origin information to consumers in hotels and restaurants is often difficult.

Britain knows all about destroying cattle more than 30 months old. It has been doing it since March 1996. No animal in recent years has shown signs of BSE unless well over that age.

About 4.7m of them have been slaughtered and burned into a near 500,000 tonne pile of remains in 13 stores around the country. Last week, 29,100 cattle, mainly old dairy cows past their milking best, headed for this mountain.

A handful of special incinerators is used to destroy this grisly reminder that will be with Britain for years. Only 60% of the pile is likely to have been removed by 2002, and any hopes that the 30 month rule might be abandoned in a couple of years, providing the British epidemic continues to fall and other safeguards remain, seems forlorn if the European problem worsens.

This alone is costing the EU taxpayer £400m a year. Brussels picks up 70% of the costs, and there are severe doubts in Britain whether provisional estimates of the extra £785m of EU-wide measures is anywhere near accurate.

Then there is the question of the tests. They are meant to be used as an indicator of the size of the BSE epidemic, not a health guarantee. They have not been validated to test for sub-clinical BSE , where cattle may be infected but not showing obvious signs. The controls on offals, thought more likely to carry the disease, and proper enforcement are more important.

Privately the government was already getting nervous that the testing regime was appearing to act as a health guarantee when it is not.

But if it insists on a 30 month blanket ban when no other country has more than 600 cases - compared with Britain's 177,500, and 1,100 this year alone - even in a declining epidemic, hopes of the ban being lifted in Britain in the near future seem doomed.


30 Nov 00 - CJD - Europe-wide cattle cull as panic over BSE spreads

Andrew Osborn in Brussels and James Meikle

Guardian ... Thursday 30 November 2000


Drastic new safety measures were announced yesterday as the European commission sought to contain rising consumer panic about BSE. They include the effective banning of up to 7m older cattle from all food products from January 1.

In a move designed to save Europe's livestock industry from ruin it also called for a temporary ban on the feeding of any meat and bonemeal to other farmyard animals, bringing the rest of the EU more into line with anti-BSE measures already taken in Britain.

The package may cost as much as £3.4bn to implement and cut nearly 10% of the EU's cattle herds out of food. But commissioners said the measures had to be taken to halt the collapse of the beef market on the continent. Sales have crashed in France , Spain and Germany as the disease has spread in recent weeks.

The new measures will be put to farming and health ministers at a crisis meeting on Monday, at which some countries, especially those still without BSE - Finland, Sweden, Italy and Austria - might bridle at the extra costs.

But commissioners believe that earlier blocking tactics , especially by Germany and Spain, which delayed for years the banning of risky parts of cattle from food, must never be repeated.

They said cattle carcasses more than 30 months old which tested negative for BSE could enter food products, but officials openly admit that member states are nowhere near to being ready for such measures. Laboratories, testing facilities and storage rooms will be needed."I don't think they will be prepared to carry out a full-scale testing programme anytime soon," said one source last night.

David Byrne, the food safety commissioner, said: "BSE does not know any borders ... The consumer deserves to be told that we're taking the highest possible measures for their protection.''

The agriculture commissioner, Franz Fischler, said: "These measures are going to be quite an expensive affair but I do believe the investment makes sense. We have seen that the collapse of the beef market is quite a lot bigger than in 1996 and therefore robust measures are necessary unless we wan t to lose it altogether .''

The BSE crisis has already cost Britain nearly £6bn in destruction of cattle, compensation to farmers and lost exports. Britain has excluded virtually all animals aged over 30 months from food since 1996.

Random testing is being stepped up across Europe but not on a scale that would clear substantial numbers of older animals to enter food products.

Taking animals out of the food chain under a "purchase for destruction scheme" would cost at least £660m in a full year (70% of which would be met from EU funds), with new animal feed controls costing £1.8bn and other losses to the farming industries £900m . Sir John Krebs, the chairman of the food standards agency, welcomed the measures, saying: "If adopted, they would provide effective protection for consumers against the spread of BSE across Europe."


30 Nov 00 - CJD - Brussels demands BSE feed ban

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Brussels

Telegraph ... Thursday 30 November 2000


The European Commission demanded emergency action yesterday to stop the spread of Mad Cow disease and restore the confidence of consumers.

David Byrne, the food safety commissioner, called for a six-month ban on meat and bone meal in the feed of all animals, despite opposition from countries that have never had BSE cases. Scientists believe that animal feed is the main trigger of the brain-wasting disease, which is transmitted to humans in the form of vCJD.

The move will cost billions of pounds, damaging a whole sector of European agriculture. The plan, which will be presented to farm ministers for a final decision on Monday, also bans the sale of beef from cattle over 30 months unless they have been tested for BSE. Mr Byrne said: "BSE has not been found in animals aged less than 36 months for several years. By testing all animals aged over 30 months we are taking an ultra-precautionary approach."

The commission is proposing a "purchase for destruction scheme" to cull the EU herd and limit the cost of storage as beef prices tumble . The commission is also calling for a ban on using the intestines of slaughtered cattle, ending the practice in Germany and France of using it for sausages. It is already illegal to sell risk material from the brain , spinal chord , tonsils and eyes of cattle.

Beef consumption has collapsed by 40 per cent in France over the past month. In Germany, 30 per cent of the public say that they are giving up beef after the first case of BSE was discovered there last Friday. The commission has come under intense criticism from leaders in Germany for doing too little, too late to stamp out BSE. However, Mr Byrne said Germany had been too "complacent " and had persistently blocked all attempts by Brussels to impose stricter rules.

Explaining the need for drastic action, Mr Byrne said: "I have repeatedly said that the existing community controls, if strictly implemented, ensure that meat and bone meal is safe. However, consumers now clearly want copper-fastened guarantees that these controls are being implemented."

The EU produces three million tonnes of animal feed a year. It will now have to rely on alternative soya feed imported from America. The UK's Food Standards Agency welcomed the European commission's proposals, saying many of the measures had already been implemented in Britain.


30 Nov 00 - CJD - Brussels plans slaughter to prevent an epidemic

By Stephen Castle in Brussels

Independent ... Thursday 30 November 2000


European Commission calls for some two million cattle to be culled as one-third of Germans say they have stopped eating beef

Europe crossed a threshold in its battle against Mad Cow disease yesterday, when member states were persuaded to take far-reaching action to combat an epidemic that has swept across borders and threatens every EU country .

A crisis plan from Brussels proposes a massive European slaughter programme , one in which the European Commission expects to see about two million of its cows taken out of the food chain, many destined to be slaughtered.

Officials in Brussels remain unsure where the cattle will be incinerated or if carcasses will be turned into the more easily-stored bone and animal meal, which would never be used.

Franz Fischler, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, said he was worried about the environmental effects of the mass incinerations.

The plans to take older cattle out of the food chain, and a long-overdue ban on the use of bone and animal meal in all animal feed - initially for six months - will be put on Monday to agriculture ministers, who are unlikely to be opposed.

Last week, the fiercest opposition to a ban on animal and bone meal - thought to be the main cause of BSE - came from Germany's Agriculture Minister, Karl-Heinz Funke. But, after the discovery of the first cases in Germany and Spain, the scale of public alarm forced Berlin to perform a rapid about turn .

Consumer panic over BSE, which took hold in Britain in the 1990s and in France recently, has gripped Germany. In the Frankfurt cattle market, demand has dropped by 40 per cent. In Brussels there is certain weariness, derived from the fact that earlier warnings were ignored by countries that thought themselves BSE-free and did not want to damage confidence by suggesting preventative measures.

The prospects of these countries remaining free of the disease has become more flimsy . In July, a geographical risk assessment for the European Commission concluded that, given the pattern of distribution of contaminated meat and bone meal from Britain, cases in Spain and Germany could not be ruled out. At that time, Germany was still allowing so-called Specified Risk Material such as brains and spinal columns into the food chain.

Such complacency is passed and there is a growing realisation that only drastic measures can restore confidence. Yesterday's measures ensure that only cattle of under 30 months, the age after which BSE develops, enter the food chain.

Older cows will, after slaughter, be tested or taken out of the food chain as part of the Commission's "purchase for destruction" scheme. If animals test negatively they can be eaten or used for animal feed.

For Britain, which started the BSE epidemic, only minor changes will be needed, such as the elimination of bird and fish meal . But few countries have the ability to screen for BSE in such great numbers yet.

There is little cause for satisfaction on this side of the Channel. The Italian Prime Minister, Guiliano Amato, said yesterday that the government of the former British prime minister, John Major, had already "accepted its responsibility for this". Such an admission "is something we will have to take into account in the future ", he said.


30 Nov 00 - CJD - EU wants slaughter of 2m cattle to curb BSE

By Stephen Castle and Marie Woolf

Independent ... Thursday 30 November 2000


Europe took a drastic new step to end the consumer panic over the spread of Mad Cow disease yesterday, by proposing a destruction programme for up to two million cattle and a ban on all bone and animal feed.

The draconian measures follow the widespread consumer panic that has spread from France to Spain and Germany, which confirmed its first cases of BSE last week. They mark a substantial extension of European Union measures to try to eliminate the still spreading epidemic.

"BSE is an EU-wide problem which requires EU-wide answers. Firm action is required. We have to restore consumer confidence," said the European agriculture commissioner, Franz Fischler.

David Byrne, the European commissioner for health and consumer protection, warned that BSE threatened every EU country and that the disease "does not know borders".

Yesterday's EU measures, which are expected to be approved by agriculture ministers when they meet on Monday in Brussels, means that all meat from cattle over 30 months will be removed from the food chain unless they have been tested BSE free.

Britain wants even tougher standards because BSE tests only pick up the disease in its later stages. In Parliament yesterday, the head of the Food Standards Agency warned that French controls may not be sufficient to prevent BSE-infected beef reaching Britain. Sir John Krebs told MPs that there was a risk that BSE-infected beef, particularly in processed foods, such as salami , could be reaching the UK.

He said that he did not believe that France's controls were "100 per cent watertight". There was likely to have been "under reporting " of BSE cases in France early on and that protection of British consumers depended on "an element of trust" of France's authorities, Sir John said.

The new EU measures are expected to come into effect on 1 January. From that point older cattle will either have to be tested, after being slaughtered, or disposed of under the new scheme.

Meanwhile, meat and bone-based animal feed, blamed for spreading the disease, will be banned for use with all animals. A number of countries, including Germany, resisted this until last week because there is no evidence that it is harmful to poultry or pigs. However, most governments now concede that it has been impossible to stop farmers ignoring the ban .

The FSA will review its advice on the safety of French beef after next week's five-day inspection visit by EU veterinary and scientific experts.


30 Nov 00 - CJD - German farmers fear public panic will finish them

By Imre Karacs in Berlin

Independent ... Thursday 30 November 2000


Farmers organisations in Germany warned yesterday that the country's beef industry was on the verge of collapse , as government hotlines were jammed with callers seeking reassurance over last week's discovery of two cases of BSE in home-bred cows.

The first opinion poll published since the scare found 30 per cent of those questioned had stopped eating beef. Another third said they were cutting their consumption.

The first effects of the consumer boycott are already being felt by the industry. Two large corporations, Nordfleisch in Hamburg and Moksel in Bavaria, have introduced a shorter working week in their abattoirs. Moksel has reported a fall in beef sales of between 20 per cent and 30 per cent.

At the Neukölln branch of Superspar in Berlin, a notice proclaiming that all meat had been thoroughly tested hung above the selection. But the saleswoman, Mrs Werk, said: "I didn't have a single customer for beef today, even though it's on special offer."

Mohammed Ismailoglu, a halal butcher, said: "I've had no beef in my counter for 10 days, and no one has asked for it."

Among the beef refuseniks are members of the government, which has been criticised for acting too late. Hans Eichel, the Finance Minister, revealed yesterday that he was planning to forgo beef "in the coming weeks".

He may have to take further precautionary measures. For as Germans have been discovering to their horror, their renowned pork sausages also contain beef and veal . National staples, such as regional varieties of bratwurst , can no longer be assumed to be safe .

No such concerns were weighing on Karl-Heinz Funke, the portly Agriculture Minister pictured yesterday gorging himself at an animal feed fair. Mr Funke owns 25 cows at his home farm in Lower Saxony. He says they eat nothing but grass, silage and hay.

Not that he thought, until last week, that there was anything wrong with feeding animals (but not cows) on the carcasses of their ancestors. Last Tuesday, he was proclaiming the merits of the German heat-treating procedures that produce bone meal.

Now he is the loudest advocate of an immediate, Europe-wide ban on meat-based feed and bone meal - rather late , some argue. Rebecca Harms, the leader of the Greens in Lower Saxony, said: "By underplaying the threat over many years, he has lost the trust of both the consumers and farmers." In her view, Mr Funke has "serious grounds for considering resignation ".

Fortunately for Mr Funke, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has lost two cabinet ministers in recent weeks. The Transport Minister, Reinhard Klimmt, quit in disgrace over a financial scandal. To lose a third would be careless in the extreme.

Mr Schröder said yesterday there would be "fundamental reforms" in agriculture, replacing "agricultural factories" with consumer-friendly production. "If we don't manage this now, we never will," he said.


29 Nov 00 - CJD - Germany reeling from BSE shock

Staff Reporter

BBC ... Wednesday 29 November 2000


As Germany struggles with the shock of finding BSE in its herd, the BBC's Peter Morgan reports on the impact.

Just a week ago the German Government was insisting that no BSE existed in the country. Now farmers across Germany are watching a market evaporate before their eyes.

The price of beef fell from 12 Deutschmarks per kilo last Friday to about five Deutschmarks on Monday. And this is important business.

One man who suddenly faces ruin said: " My neighbours used the same feed as me. They feed in the same way, so this is going to be a huge problem."

Organic beef

A quarter of a million people work in Germany's beef industry.

So what are the politicians up to? German Health Minister Andrea Fischer is advising people only to eat organic beef, rejecting 95% of the meat reared on German farms.

When asked if she ate beef herself she replied: "Very rarely, and only from organic farms."

Germany banned animal products from cattle feed seven years ago, which is why this country has taken such a lofty view of the BSE crisis - a view the European Commission describes as "arrogant ".

Collapsed

Food Safety Commissioner David Byrne added: "Our experts in the Commission have been advising me for some time now that some member states, notably Germany and Spain, who believed and stated that they were BSE-free, were not."

In the shops there has been a lightning response to the crisis. Beef sales at one butcher in Brandenburg simply collapsed last weekend.

The BSE shock in Germany has been all the greater because so few saw it coming.

It has been a bolt from the blue which has more than halved beef prices in just four days.


29 Nov 00 - CJD - EU tackles BSE crisis

Staff Reporter

BBC ... Wednesday 29 November 2000


Meat safety is becoming a political issue across Europe

The European Commission has proposed tough new measures to curb the spread of BSE in Europe, calling for a temporary ban on meat and bone-meal in all animal feeds.

It has also said that all cattle over 30-months -old should be excluded from the food chain unless first tested for BSE.

The moves are an attempt to establish common rules to replace the piecemeal measures imposed by several EU countries in the past few weeks aimed at containing the spread of BSE, or Mad Cow disease.

Europe's food safety Commissioner David Byrne said he was proposing that the new restrictions on cattle should come into force on 4 December.

"The proposals are essential for the enhancement of consumer confidence." Mr Byrne told a news conference in Brussels.

"There has been concern in my mind as to the controls relating to meat and bone meal (MBM) in animal feed."

Commissioner Byrne was speaking after a meeting of EU scientists, who also said the national embargoes placed on French beef by other EU member states were unjustified.

French ban

In response to rising consumer panic over BSE, the French government has banned T-bone steaks and meat-based animal feed.

But it has also offered cash help for farmers affected by the crisis.

A $65m package was announced by Agriculture Minister Jean Glavany in response to a series of farmers' protests following the collapse in beef sales.

Many of France's EU partners have imposed greater restrictions.

Spain , Italy , Austria and the Netherlands were among those to impose curbs on imports of French cattle and beef.

Mr Byrne said he expected these national measures would be withdrawn after discussions with farm ministers on Monday.

BBC correspondent Colin Blane says that, with panic about BSE worsening by the day in many EU countries, the European Commission's aim is to regain its grip on the crisis by consulting its scientific experts about future action.

Assurances sought

Analysts say there is a strong chance that both of its proposals will be accepted by member states.

Until now it has been legal to feed meat and bone meal to pigs and poultry, but there has been a suspicion that it was also being fed to cattle in some places, thereby risking the spread of BSE.

Officials from the UK's Food Standards Agency are meanwhile asking French government ministers for assurances that beef contaminated with BSE is not entering the food chain.

If there are major doubts, it could lead to a ban on French beef imports into Britain.

Concern over the spread of BSE has continued to spread across Europe

Five new cases of BSE have been confirmed in France bringing the total number of cases discovered this year to 121 , compared to just 30 in 1999.

Almost 200 cases of BSE have been recorded in France since 1991.

The Agriculture Ministry said that a free government BSE hotline had received 22,500 calls since it opened 10 days ago.

In Germany, which discovered its first two cases of BSE last week, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has called for a re-think of farming policy.

He told parliament that the current practice of factory farming must stop, in favour of a more consumer-friendly policy.

Outside the European Union, the Polish government has appointed a team to assess the risk of BSE occurring in Poland, which is a major exporter of livestock to the EU.


29 Nov 00 - CJD - EU plans to fight Mad Cow disease

by Jo Revill, Political Reporter

Evening Standard ... Wednesday 29 November 2000


New plans to tackle Mad Cow disease and restore consumer confidence in beef were announced today by the European Commission amid concern that some infected meat is entering the food chain.

Brussels wants a total ban on meat and bonemeal in all animal feeds and also the exclusion of all cattle over 30 months old from sale for human consumption unless first tested for BSE and cleared.

The tough new proposals came as British vets and food safety experts met French counterparts in Paris to discuss whether some infected French cattle may be slipping through the safety net and reaching Britain .

The proposed ban on untested older cattle will do much to assuage growing concerns that some unscrupulous companies are exporting potentially infected cattle from France to other countries such as Holland , where the meat is processed and then imported into Britain in pies and burgers .

The ban on the use of meat and bonemeal, known as MBM, in all animal feeds including that given to pigs and poultry, will be seen by scientists and politicians as a sensible precaution against the risk that the infectious agent could be passed on to other species and create a future epidemic.

The feeding of MBM to cows has been blamed for causing the initial spread of BSE. Its use for ruminants has been banned across the EU since 1994 but it had remained in use for pigs and poultry .

These proposals will be put to EU farm ministers meeting for crisis talks next week as it has emerged in recent weeks that both France and Germany have BSE-infected cattle. Health and consumer protection commissioner David Byrne is recommending that an existing list of animal parts banned from use - the brains, spinal cord and spleen - should be extended to include the whole intestine .

He told a press conference in Brussels today that the measures would enhance existing controls and bolster consumer confidence.

Mr Byrne said he had been concerned for some time that the ban on the use of MBM in cattle feed should be widened to include all animals.

Today's new moves follows talks between EU scientific and veterinary experts in Brussels to assess what more needs to be done in the wake of the growing BSE scare in France and the first outbreaks of BSE in Germany and Spain.

Meanwhile, a delegation of seven officials from the Food Standards Agency held talks this morning with officials from the French Ministry of Agriculture.

An FSA spokesman said the talks could end in an outright ban on French beef in Britain if the delegation did not receive the assurances they needed.

He said: "We will be asking them what mechanisms they have in place to ensure that the beef products which have been banned domestically (in France) are not getting into the UK.

"That is the sole reason for the visit. Depending on what we are told, it is up to us to recommend any further action to ministers - which could include a ban."


29 Nov 00 - CJD - Europe Urged To Adopt UK Rules To Combat BSE

Ananova

Guardian ... Wednesday 29 November 2000


Europe's agriculture ministers have been urged to step up the campaign against Mad Cow disease by adopting measures already in force in Britain.

And fearing the possible spread of Mad Cow disease, Croatia has now banned imports of cattle, beef and bone meal from France , Germany , the Netherlands , Portugal , Spain and Switzerland .

In the wake of growing fears over the spread of BSE on the continent, the Commission in Brussels is calling for a ba an on feeding meat and bonemeal (MBM) to any animals, including pigs, poultry and even pets. It is also proposing a ban on all cattle over 30-months-old from the food chain unless previously tested for BSE and cleared.

Both already apply in the UK and a third Commission proposal to extend a list of animal parts banned from use also presents no difficulty for Britain, a government official confirmed. The extra measures should help restore consumer confidence in beef, according to EU health and consumer protection Commissioner David Byrne.

Fearing the possible spread of Mad Cow disease, Croatia has now banned imports of cattle, beef and bone meal from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

The decree also prohibits transport of cattle and beef products through Croatia, but does not apply to milk and milk products from these countries, the Agriculture Ministry says.

No symptoms of Mad Cow disease have been detected in Croatia, Agriculture Minister Bozo Pankretic says.

Mr Byrne says he has been concerned for some time that the current ban on the use of MBM in cattle feed should be widened to include all animals - something done in Britain in 1996.

The Commission initiative has been welcomed by the UK's Food Standards Authority and will be backed by agriculture minister Nick Brown when he joins fellow EU farm ministers at the crisis talks in Brussels next week.

FSA chairman Sir John Krebs insists however that there is no grounds at present for banning French beef from Britain, provided that the regulations are being adhered to.

But giving evidence to a joint session of the Commons health and agriculture committees, he admits it is impossible to be certain that they are being properly enforced .

The feeding of MBM to cows has been blamed for spreading BSE. Its use for ruminants has been banned across the EU since 1994, but it had remained in use for pigs and poultry.

The moves follow talks between experts on the Commission's advisory Scientific Steering Committee to assess what more needs to be done in the wake of the growing BSE scare in France and the first outbreaks of BSE in Germany and Spain.


29 Nov 00 - CJD - New EU plans to stop BSE

Staff Reporter

Independent ... Wednesday 29 November 2000


The European Commission has announced new proposals to stop the spread of Mad Cow disease.

Plans include banning meat and bonemeal (MBW) in all animal feed and preventing cattle over 30-months-old entering the food chain unless previously tested and cleared of having BSE.

The proposals will be put to EU farm ministers next week in a bid to stamp out the continuing health threat.

The Commission also wants to extend the list of banned animal parts to include the whole intestine , as well as the already outlawed brain, spinal cord and spleen.

Health and consumer protection commissioner David Byrne said in Brussels that the measures would enhance existing controls and bolster consumer confidence.

He added that he had been concerned for some time that the current ban on the use of MBM in cattle feed should be widened to include all animals.

The feeding of MBM to cows has been blamed for spreading BSE. Its use for ruminants has been banned across the EU since 1994, but it had remained in use for pigs and poultry.

Today's new moves follows talks between EU scientific and veterinary experts in Brussels to assess what more needs to be done in the wake of the growing BSE scare in France and the first outbreaks of BSE in Germany and Spain.


29 Nov 00 - CJD - Euro plan to curb BSE spread

Ananova

PA News ... Wednesday 29 November 2000


New plans to crack down on Mad Cow disease have been announced by the European Commission.

Proposals to be put to EU farm ministers meeting for crisis talks next week include banning meat and bonemeal (MBM) in feed for all animals including pigs and poultry and banning all cattle over 30-months -old from the food chain unless previously tested for BSE and cleared.

Health and consumer protection commissioner David Byrne is also recommending that an existing list of animal parts banned from use - the brains, spinal cord and spleen - be extended to include the whole intestine. He told a press conference in Brussels that the measures will enhance existing controls and bolster consumer confidence.

Mr Byrne has expressed frustration at the return of BSE on the continent, blaming the failure of Germany and Spain in particular to act quickly enough . He says both countries "may have been too complacent about the risk ".

For nearly four years, until June this year, Germany and Spain opposed legislation to remove from the food and feed chain parts of animals which represented a high risk of carrying the BSE agent, including brains, spinal cords, eyes and parts of intestines.

But now German health and agriculture experts have ordered that there will be a complete national ban on the use of meat and bone meal.

Mr Byrne's plan is to extend that EU-wide, while also advancing the timetable for the removal of all unchecked cattle over 30-months-old from the food chain across the EU .

Widening the agreed definition of what constitutes Specified Risk Material (SRM) which should be removed from all cattle carcasses is the third plank of his new strategy.

But, despite growing concern about the incidence of the disease in France, he does not recommend the kind of worldwide blockade on French beef exports which the Commission imposed on Britain for more than three years when the first BSE outbreak was discovered in the UK.

He says he has been concerned for some time that the current ban on the use of MBM in cattle feed should be widened to include all animals.


29 Nov 00 - CJD - Europe urged to adopt UK rules to combat BSE

Ananova

PA News ... Wednesday 29 November 2000


Europe's agriculture ministers have been urged to step up the campaign against Mad Cow disease by adopting measures already in force in Britain.

And fearing the possible spread of Mad Cow disease, Croatia has now banned imports of cattle, beef and bone meal from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

In the wake of growing fears over the spread of BSE on the continent, the Commission in Brussels is calling for a ban on feeding meat and bonemeal (MBM) to any animals, including pigs, poultry and even pets. It is also proposing a ban on all cattle over 30-months-old from the food chain unless previously tested for BSE and cleared.

Both already apply in the UK and a third Commission proposal to extend a list of animal parts banned from use also presents no difficulty for Britain, a government official confirmed. The extra measures should help restore consumer confidence in beef, according to EU health and consumer protection Commissioner David Byrne.

Fearing the possible spread of Mad Cow disease, Croatia has now banned imports of cattle, beef and bone meal from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

The decree also prohibits transport of cattle and beef products through Croatia, but does not apply to milk and milk products from these countries, the Agriculture Ministry says.

No symptoms of Mad Cow disease have been detected in Croatia, Agriculture Minister Bozo Pankretic says.

Mr Byrne says he has been concerned for some time that the current ban on the use of MBM in cattle feed should be widened to include all animals - something done in Britain in 1996.

The Commission initiative has been welcomed by the UK's Food Standards Authority and will be backed by agriculture minister Nick Brown when he joins fellow EU farm ministers at the crisis talks in Brussels next week.

FSA chairman Sir John Krebs insists however that there is no grounds at present for banning French beef from Britain, provided that the regulations are being adhered to.

But giving evidence to a joint session of the Commons health and agriculture committees, he admits it is impossible to be certain that they are being properly enforced.

The feeding of MBM to cows has been blamed for spreading BSE. Its use for ruminants has been banned across the EU since 1994, but it had remained in use for pigs and poultry.

The moves follow talks between experts on the Commission's advisory Scientific Steering Committee to assess what more needs to be done in the wake of the growing BSE scare in France and the first outbreaks of BSE in Germany and Spain.


29 Nov 00 - CJD - EU proposes moves to contain BSE

Staff Reporter

Times ... Wednesday 29 November 2000


Europe's agriculture ministers were tonight urged to step up the campaign against "Mad Cow" disease by adopting measures already in force in Britain.

In the wake of growing fears over the spread of BSE on the Continent, the European Commission in Brussels is calling for a ban on feeding meat and bonemeal (MBM) to any animals.

It is also proposing a ban on all cattle more than 30 months old from the food chain unless it has been tested and cleared for BSE. Both these measures already apply in the UK.

Along with a third commission proposal to extend a list of animal parts banned from use, the extra measures would help restore consumer confidence in beef, according to David Byrne, the EU health and consumer protection commissioner.

He said that he had been concerned that the ban on the use of MBM in cattle feed should be widened to include all animals, something done in Britain in 1996 .

Today's moves follow talks between experts on the commission's advisory scientific steering committee to assess what more needs to be done in the wake of the growing BSE scare in France and the first outbreaks of BSE in Germany and Spain.

Sir John Krebs, the FSA chairman, said there were no grounds for banning French beef from Britain, provided that the regulations were being adhered to.